Friday, November 03, 2006

More on Mobile Phones

I saw a fascinating presentation yesterday by Thomas Fellger, CEO of iconmobile GmbH ( , Berlin-based developer of applications and services for mobile communications. The notion I found most striking was the cell phone as a consumer’s “remote control” to access other media. A simple example was sending an SMS message to register for a loyalty program, which would in turn trigger messages by email, access to a Web site, and so on. The cell phone itself could also act as a replacement for a membership card, by either sending additional messages when a customer made a related purchase or by displaying a bar code or number to be scanned. Fellger also described vastly more elaborate and creative approaches to using the mobile phone encourage interaction among consumers.

This reinforces the position I took yesterday that the cell phone is a device that interacts with several channels, rather than a channel by itself. It also reinforces yesterday's comments on the importance of location and context. But, to be honest, yesterday’s post missed the notion of the mobile phone as a new medium in its own right. Mobile communications present unique capabilities and opportunities that marketers will learn over time to exploit. I also didn’t give enough emphasis to how mobile phones shift control to their owners, letting them initiate communications with marketers (as opposed to just receiving them) and collaborate with other consumers.

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